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Trends Parasitol. 2007 Oct;23(10):494-501. Epub 2007 Sep 7.

Modeling the molecular basis of atovaquone resistance in parasites and pathogenic fungi.

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  • 1Center for Retrovirus Research, College of Pharmacy, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Atovaquone is a substituted hydroxynaphthoquinone that is used therapeutically for treating Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia and Toxoplasma gondii toxoplasmosis. It is thought to act on these organisms by inhibiting parasite and fungal respiration by binding to the cytochrome bc1 complex. The recent, growing failure of atovaquone treatment and increased mortality of patients with malaria or Pneumocystis pneumonia has been linked to the appearance of mutations in the cytochrome b gene. To better understand the molecular basis of drug resistance, we have developed the yeast and bovine bc1 complexes as surrogates to model the molecular interaction of atovaquone with human and resistant pathogen enzymes.

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